The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington seeks applicants to fill the vacant magistrate judge position. The magistrate judge duty station will be Seattle, Washington. The position is available starting May 1, 2021.


The duties of the position are demanding and wide-ranging, and include the following:


(1) Conduct most preliminary proceedings in criminal cases including initial appearances, detention and preliminary hearings, and change of plea hearings.

(2) Issue search and seizure warrants.

(3) Conduct trials and sentencing hearings in misdemeanor cases.

(4) Preside over civil matters upon referral from a United States District Judge, including prisoner civil rights cases, federal habeas corpus petitions, a high volume of Social Security appeals, and other civil matters such as discovery disputes.

(5) Conduct settlement conferences.

(6) Preside over civil cases upon consent of the parties, including jury trial and entry of final judgment.


The basic authority of a United States Magistrate Judge is specified in 28 U.S.C. § 636.


To be qualified for appointment an applicant must:


1. Be, and have been for at least five years, a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Virgin Islands of the United States, and have been engaged in the active practice of law for a period of at least five years (with some substitutes authorized);

2. Be competent to perform all the duties of the office; be of good moral character; be emotionally stable and mature; be committed to equal justice under the law; be in good health; be patient and courteous; and be capable of deliberation and decisiveness;

3. Be less than seventy years old; and

4. Not be related to a judge of the district court.


A merit selection panel composed of attorneys and other members of the community will review all applicants and recommend to the district judges, in confidence, the five persons the panel considers best qualified for the position. The court will make the appointment following a FBI full-field investigation and an IRS tax check of the applicant selected by the court. An affirmative effort will be made to give due consideration to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, age (40 and over), gender, religion, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. The current annual salary of the position is $199,088. The term of office is eight years with the possibility of renewal.


Application forms and more information on the magistrate judge position in this court may be obtained from the district court executive/clerk of the court via the court’s Internet website at www.wawd.uscourts.gov. Applications must be submitted only by applicants personally and must be received on or before September 25, 2020.


The individual selected for this position must comply with the financial disclosure requirements pursuant to the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-521, 92 Stat. 1824 (1978) (codified at 5 U.S.C. app. §§ 101-111).


All applications will be kept confidential, except for the committee’s contact with references. All applications will be examined only by members of the merit selection panel and the judges of the district court. The panel’s deliberations will remain confidential.


Applicants should send their application materials, including a cover letter, the job application form, and a writing sample to:


William M. McCool

District Court Executive/Clerk of Court

United States District Court Western District of Washington

700 Stewart Street, Room 2310

Seattle, WA 98101

Attention – Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel

Or via email to: magistratejudgeapplication@wawd.uscourts.gov


Mailing Address:

 P.O Box 1873  Seattle, WA 98111